Sunday, December 28, 2008

SUSU and $3.00 Records!

brooklyn band SUSU
photo: Brooke Weeber

A couple of months ago, on a Monday, with no theater and an itch for some live music, my companion and I sauntered over to the Mercury Lounge. No line really. Punky but sweet girl at the door. "Who are you here to see?" I glanced at the list, trying quickly to process and speak the name of one of the opening bands with no tally marks. Instead I noticed that the headliner Day for Night had relatively few scratches in comparison to the group SUSU, on immediately before them. Odd. "Day for Night" I said, feeling a little sting as the opportunity to do some good seemed to have flitted away.

ASIDE for non-NYC readers - clubs in Manhattan are anal about headcounts, and a band's "draw." They can be extremely brutal if a band doesn't meet their expected quota; sometimes they won't have them back! Ridiculous. What ever happened to a built-in audience? What ever happened to taste-making? There are only a few places left that you can just wander into without having to declare exactly what brought you in. When you say, "I'm here to see all the bands," they look at you like you're clueless or insane.

Brooklyn band SUSU, despite recently having been named's blah-blah number one download pick for upcoming whatever, were completely unknown to me at the time. I was one of those members of the crowd "waiting to be impressed," as drummer Oliver puts it.1 Now my not knowing a band, as we all know, doesn't mean jack. SUSU have been around for years, kicking around Brooklyn and Manhattan, playing strip shows and mud wrestling contests etc., all by accident, mostly.1 When I heard them start the first song, I was excited. When they started the second, I was nodding enthusiastically to those around me. By the time Day for Night came on, I was more concerned with getting a copy of SUSU's CD than I was anything else.

After Day for Night's set (which was also great), we headed out to the bar, where Andrea Havis was selling records .. .. for $3.00! Now, I happen to know how much it costs to press some vinyl, and I was blown away. When I told the barmaid about it, she went and bought one. And why not? One can either buy a half pint of lager or a 3-song record! The band isn't losing money (since it's not on a label) and they are selling cheap to a group of potential fans who have just seen them rock out! Granted, the same strategy doesn't work on the internet, but I would imagine that like me, most of the people who bought the record listened to it at some later date. Perhaps when the memory of the live show had faded slightly, reduced to a sort of "thumbs-up" without any real supporting detail. For example, I put the record on last week, as my turntable was broken for a good while, and now I am right back in SUSU's pocket. Hence this blog. Hence my going on and on. Here is what I heard the second time:

The call and answer / male and female vocals are such a great tool for any band, adding a dynamic that really can't be done the same any other way. Add to that shredding and often rythmically defiant guitar parts played with a sort-of loving and delicate touch, drums that separate your membranes from their respective internal organs, and each song's mantra delivered concurrently with an encompassing group of lyrics, rather than a transcription or otherwise-on-the-nose browbeating. It really is a fun record to listen to. I find myself smiling and taken to imaginative places of my own, like a good read almost. Strange, I know, but that's what it does for me. I wouldn't be surprised if everyone else who left with a record that night has experienced something completely different. Great progressive records will do that. Here's a track from the WIN EP.
"Part Bloodhound" by SUSU Download mp3 (with permission)

Buy SUSU's Records!

When I read that guitarist Andrea Havis doesn't read or feel particularly fond of blogs, I laughed. I sort of feel the same way. From the emusic interview:

Andrea: Yeah, I don't read blogs. My boyfriend does — he's obsessed. I just can't handle it. Music that I like has always found its way to me.

The first person to comment on this blog will WIN a free WIN EP 12 inch record. Just include or email your mailing address.

B&W photos: Ibru Yildiz
1. interview from, read it here

1 comment:

Everett Hall said...

Its nice to see people notice SUSU, as I adore them.
Everett Hall
107 Hillcrest Circle
Honea Path, SC, 29654